To evaluate a new organisational model, “process management” (PM), implemented in the Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Victoria (HUVV) compared with traditional models used in other Radiation Oncology Departments (RODs), in terms of efficacy and efficiency.
The study period ranged from September 2011 to August 2012. Efficacy was assessed, comparing the number of patients attended in first consultation and treated per month, average waiting time from referral to first visit and average waiting time from first visit to treatment. Data were collected from two public hospitals in Andalusia: the HUVV and another Public Hospital in Andalusia (PHA1). Efficiency was assessed comparing the costs per patient attended in first visit and treated at HUVV in 2012 compared with those of a second Public Hospital in Andalusia (PHA2) for 2008. The number of sessions saved using hypofractionation versus classical schemes during the year 2012 in HUVV was estimated, and the money saved was calculated.
In the efficacy analysis, we found significant differences in the average waiting time for first visit, start of treatment, and the number of patients seen and treated annually. After calculating the total cost generated in the ROD, the efficiency analysis showed a lower cost per patient attended in first visit (EUR 599.17) and per patient treated (EUR 783.50), with a saving of 6035 sessions using hypofractionated schemes.
Process management in an ROD reduces time, both to first medical visit and to treatment initiation, allowing an optimisation of linear accelerator (LINAC) capacity.